Don’t Expect Obama to Fix the Abortion Funding Problems in Obamacare

Opinion   |   Mary Harned   |   Dec 8, 2014   |   4:30PM   |   Washington, DC

While many were celebrating the beginning of the holiday season, Obamacare marked a major, if subdued, milestone—the beginning of the second open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the state Exchanges.  While the law continues to face intense scrutiny, many news stories are reporting that year-two is already an improvement from year-one.  After all, websites are not crashing, so far, and more health insurance providers are participating.

But don’t break out the confetti yet, pro-life Americans.  The administration’s pro-abortion policies have not softened, and thanks to Obamacare, abortion providers are feeding more than ever at the public trough.

In half the states, taxpayer funds continue to pay for insurance plans that cover abortion through the Exchanges.  In at least some of those states, the administration’s incompetence—and apparent lack of interest in honoring the promises they made to pro-life Democrats in the House—are enabling tax dollars to directly pay for abortions.  A new Administration Rule does nothing to correct this problem, and good luck if you want to know which plans do not cover abortion, because transparency is virtually nonexistent.


What’s more, Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion goes even farther to entrench government involvement in funding abortion and the abortion industry.

For many readers, this statement will raise red flags.  After all, the Hyde Amendment forbids the use of federal and state matching Medicaid funds for abortions or insurance plans that cover abortion, except in cases where continued pregnancy endangers the life of the woman or where the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

But that is not the end if the story.

Fifteen states use state taxpayer funding to reimburse abortion providers for abortions they deem “medically necessary”—with an additional two states explicitly reimbursing for all abortions—for women who qualify for Medicaid.  Thirteen of these states are forced by courts to provide this reimbursement, based on interpretations of state constitutions. 

These 17 states spent $68 million on about 181,000 abortion procedures for low-income women in fiscal year 2010, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.  This number will unquestionably increase now that at least 15 of these states have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare.  In other words, more women will qualify to have state taxpayer-funded abortion.

The abortion industry also benefits from more family planning funding through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.  While Medicaid family planning funds cannot be used to pay for abortions, they can certainly fatten abortion providers’ wallets by paying for their legitimate services.  At least 14 states that do not currently offer expanded eligibility for Medicaid family planning funding have now expanded Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare.  That enables many abortion providers to receive more reimbursement from the federal government.

And then there are other nice little treats in Obamacare for abortion providers, like grants they can use to help people enroll in insurance.

Obviously, we should not expect the Obama Administration to stop incentivizing state taxpayer funding for abortion and permitting federal funds to prop up the abortion industry.  After-all, looking out for the abortion industry is what they do best.  In fact, President Obama carries the dubious distinction of being the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood, an organization who receives almost half of its more than $1 billion dollar budget from taxpayers.

The Obama Administration actively circumvents state decisions to redirect taxpayer funding away from abortion providers.  For instance, the federal government directly provides Title X family planning funding to private entities—abortion providers or organizations who contract with abortion providers—in at least eight states that have laws limiting or preventing abortion providers from receiving taxpayer funds.

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Fundamentally, the Obama Administration lacks any respect for state policy that does not advance his anti-life agenda.

The bottom line—Obamacare remains riddled with abortion problems, and President Obama is not going to correct them.  His administration directs taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, and subverts state efforts to stop this, whenever they can.

When the new Congress, which is certainly more prolife than the last, reconvenes in the new year, legislators should immediately pass and urge President Obama to sign a law comprehensively prohibiting federal taxpayer funding for abortion and abortion insurance. Real healthcare respects life, from conception to natural death. Not only are Americans entangled in funding abortion and life-ending drugs and devices, but they face threats of government force if they do not comply with an anti-life agenda.

Americans opposed to taxpayer funding for abortion cannot and will not rest as the next, pivotal election will lead to one of two results:  a President and Congress who develop more creative ways to bankroll the abortion industry, or a full stop to the practice.

LifeNews Note: Mary Harned is a staff attorney at Americans United for Life.